IBM prepackages supercomputing for small agencies

IBM prepackages supercomputing for small agencies

Preconfigured server clusters will minimize setup and management hassles for small to midsized agencies, according to Dave Turek, IBM Corp. vice president of deep computing.

'A lot of times customers will spend two or three months getting a cluster installed and up and running. By buying an integrated, tested system, effectively all they have to do is plug it in,' Turek said.

The company expects the prepackaged clusters to attract smaller government offices that might not have considered clustering before. 'This is the kind of customer that either didn't have an IT infrastructure for cluster deployments, or doesn't want to be dependent on an IT infrastructure,' Turek said.

The prepackaged clusters would handle jobs now done by standalone, high-performance workstations or symmetric multiprocessor machines. Turek acknowledged that SMP applications might have to be rewritten for the cluster environment.

The IBM Departmental Supercomputing Solutions line has two basic configurations: blade and rack. The basic blade chassis will hold 14 servers; the rack will have 20. IBM will build them by combining the eServer Blade Center HS20, eServer xSeries 335 and eServer 325.

The cluster servers will have either Intel Xeon processors or Opterons from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. Later this year, IBM will introduce configurations with its own 64-bit PowerPC processor, Turek said. The servers can run either Linux or a version of Microsoft Windows.

In all configurations, the servers are controlled by an eServer xSeries 345, which coordinates the work over a virtual Ethernet LAN. A basic cluster will start around $40,000 and add about $2,000 to $5,000 for each additional server. See details at the IBM site.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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